To be an effective leader, you need to have complete clarity of roles for each of your team members in achieving the team objective.
A well-knit team is like a string-quartet. Each one plays his role to perfection and collectively the team achieves what each person individually could not have achieved. The whole then becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
To achieve this ensure that each team member’s role is clear. Their roles should be clear to you as a leader, since you are directing the team on the mission, as well as the team member.
This is achieved by understanding the following:
a. Have a clear understanding of the task and its scope
It is very important for the leader and (consequently) the team to know where the ship is headed. From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, we gather that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”.
So you must understand the task and objective of the mission (or the scope of the project) very clearly.
b. Have a good idea of what skills are needed in your team to achieve the objective
Once you have a clear understanding of the task, the next step is to identify the skill sets that are required for achieving the objective. Once the skill sets are known, you then pick team members with appropriate skills to fill in each of the roles.
This is where your understanding of the talent pool comes into play. It is not enough with just picking the best persons who have the skill sets. You also need to understand interpersonal dynamics. Some people are introverts, some are creative, some need a lot of hand-holding, some are driven, some can manage other fellow team members, etc.
Know thyself too. If you are able to fill in a role quite efficiently, be aware that this will put a huge demand on your other tasks. You have to clearly understand what you must do, and what you can let others do. Things such as communication, conflict resolution, setting a vision, managing expectations cannot be delegated. You need sufficient time to accomplish these tasks and this will put a huge demand on your time.
c. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each team member
This will help you not only pick the right members for your team, but also pair some of them if needed. Also ensure that you understand your own strengths and weaknesses. If you are a very detailed person, make sure you have someone in your team who can pull you out of the trenches every now and then.
It also helps if you know which team member combinations work well. Such synergy can be harnessed to benefit the team. The Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak team comes to mind. “Between Wozniak’s technical ability and Jobs’s mesmerizing energy, they were a powerful team.” Recognize such mini-teams in your talent pool and deploy them when possible.
d. Communicate your expectations to each team member clearly
Clearly let each team member know their role in the grand scheme of things and your expectations. Make sure you can articulate the impact of their performance to the overall achievement.
Then lead by example!
Do share your comments below on your thoughts related to clarity of roles in a team.